03/19/08 — Cop shooter sentenced

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Cop shooter sentenced

By Nick Hiltunen
Published in News on March 19, 2008 1:46 PM

A 60-year-old Goldsboro man who shot a city police captain in the chest two years ago was sentenced to nearly 46 years in prison in a Raleigh federal court this week.

Bobby Lee Rawlings, formerly of East Elm Street, stood accused of shooting Goldsboro police Captain Brady Thomp-son in March 2006.

Goldsboro police Chief Tim Bell said the result "was the kind of sentence we were looking for."

"Thank the good Lord that Brady wasn't really hurt," Bell said. "This should be a statement that we're just not going to tolerate this type of gun violence."

The State Bureau of Investigation charged Raw-lings with attempted murder after the incident.

U.S. District Court Judge Terrence Boyle sentenced him this week, according to a U.S. Department of Justice release.

Rawlings did not stop firing at Thompson until his gun jammed, the release said.

But Thompson had a bullet-resistant vest on, and was able to return to active duty after a brief recovery from a sore chest.

Rawlings, then 58, was believed to have fled upstairs during a search warrant service on his two-floor Elm Street home, after officers quickly moved in to prevent the disposal of evidence -- a common practice when drug warrants are served, Bell said.

When Rawlings fled upstairs, he grabbed a handgun and shot at Thompson, police said.

Officers did not return fire, and Rawlings was not injured, according police reports.

Also in the house at the time was Rico Devon Lewis, 34, of Green Street. He was later charged with felonious possession of cocaine and possessing drug paraphernalia, police said.

A jury trial in March 2007 also convicted Rawlings of possession with intent to distribute cocaine, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and carrying a firearm during a drug trafficking crime.

Rawlings had a criminal history before his conviction this week, serving time for possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and assaulting a female, according to state corrections records.

U.S. Attorney George E.B. Holding's office said the case was part of "Project Safe Neighborhoods: America's Network Against Gun Violence in the Eastern District of North Carolina."

Bell said he was glad it had finally come to a resolution.

"We will aggressively go after these people that want to use weapons, not only against an officer but against our citizens, whether they're drug crimes, robberies or other crimes," he said.